Monday, November 30, 2009

Real Estate Salaries

It is very interesting to compare salaries among different jobs, how people get paid and how much they are getting paid. When thinking of a person who sells real estate, it may be shocking to know that the average real estate sales agent in 2006 made $35,715 base salary. With the way real estate agents get paid though, this is only their initial income as they also get paid on commission. The percentage the sales agent makes ranges on which company they are working for, whether they are private or public. It also depends on how many years the sales agent has been working. The longer someone has been in the business, the more they make.

Looking more broadly at real estate employee salaries, they can range greatly based on what you do specifically in the industry. Median salaries generally are at the following for these jobs. Residential Property Manager- $65,000; Residential Real Estate Agent- $54,000; Financial Analyst in a Real Estate Company- $60,000; Project Manager- $90,000; Mortgage Lender- $110,000. Clearly it makes a difference as to what role you play in real estate. Commission will also not affect all of these jobs as they are not all directly related to the sell. The actual agent will be the one getting that additional compensation.

By: Kelsey Hoffman


Real Estate Market Trends Don’t Matter Anymore

This has been “conference” month, and we have attended our share of the retrospectives/prospectives of the economy and the real estate market, both nationally and locally. Most prominent of those conclaves was the Urban Land Institute’s national conference in San Francisco, which was held in early November. It was followed by a local version, called the Trends event, focusing mostly on San Diego.

The idea that trends matter is wrong. These conclaves ought to be titled Apocalypse Now. The nature of the economic beast attacking us requires serious thinking about real change. Not enough of that is going around.

The general consensus from each of the events is that we are in the midst of a long, slow recovery period. So, the message is to attempt to Thrive in Turbulent Times, the subtitle of the local ULI Trends conference.

Not all agree that is possible. “Thriving might be too strong a term,” suggested development consultant David Malmuth. “Maybe the better approach is adapting or surviving.”

Malmuth is correct. There is no point in mincing words. The economy and the real estate market have been in descent for four years, and there is every sign this will last for a couple more. Job losses and unemployment remain high. Discretionary spending is weak.

Posted by: Kelsey Hoffman

Real Estate Buying Online

Posted By, Meredith Anderson

Visitors to Can Now View the Constant Flow of Deals, Property Searches and Listing Updates Occurring Throughout the U.S. Market
November 30, 2009: 04:23 PM ET

BETHESDA, Md., Nov. 30, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CoStar Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:CSGP), the number one provider of information, marketing and analytic services to the commercial real estate industry, today announced that, for the first time ever, online viewers can watch the constant flow of activity occurring throughout the commercial real estate industry on CoStar's website at

The unique visual display captures the hundreds of thousands of listing updates, reported lease and sales transactions, and property searches taking place in CoStar's comprehensive database of commercial real estate information every day, showing where the activity is occurring as it happens.

Click Here To Read More

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Home Is Where the Family Is

By Lingxiao Li

Nowadays, even though mortgage rates have been dropped, many families are still struggle making their payments. Maybe it's the time to buy a smaller house since children all grew up and moved out. Stave (Steve Yoder is chief of The Wall Street Journal's San Francisco bureau) said "Home to this particular house, I mean, and this town. I ask because Karen and I are starting to talk of downsizing. That talk often leads us, naturally, to sub-Saharan Africa. And then I worry about Isaac's rootedness, now that he's off at college." The house is too big. We bought it for two adults, three boys, a pooch and a lizard. We're down to the adults, one boy and an aging dog. We seldom use 1,000 of our 2,500 square feet, but we still pay the mortgage and taxes and upkeep on those unused squares. This is the family's choice whether they should move out or not.The Bay Area is expensive, mainly because of the reasons they love it-it's a cultural center with natural beauty. And it's even more expensive if you're living in a house that's too big for you. "So, while I'll always have a place in my heart for the Bay Area, I wouldn't object to a move. You have to let go of childhood sometime." As Thomas Wolfe wrote, "the womb from which mankind emerged into the light, forever pulls one back – but … you can't go home again."

U.S. Will Push Mortgage Firms to Reduce More Loan Payments

By Lingxiao Li

The Obama administration on Monday plans to announce a campaign to pressure mortgage companies to reduce payments for many more troubled homeowners, as evidence mounts that a $75 billion taxpayer-financed effort aimed at stemming foreclosures is foundering. Even as lenders have in recent months accelerated the pace at which they are reducing mortgage payments for borrowers, a vast majority of loans modified through the program remain in a trial stage lasting up to five months, and only a tiny fraction have been made permanent. Some economists argued that the plan was built for last year’s problem — exotic mortgages whose payments increased — and not for the current menace of soaring joblessness. Lawyers who defend homeowners against foreclosure maintained that mortgage companies collect lucrative fees from long-term delinquency, undercutting their incentive to lower payments to affordable levels. Mr. Barr, who supervises the program, portrayed such deliberations as part of a constant process of assessment within the Treasury. He expressed confidence that the mortgage program had sufficient tools to deliver relief, characterizing the slow pace as reflecting a lack of follow-through, and not structural defects requiring a revamping.

Paying Attention To Dubai Market

By, Meredith Anderson

With the US market already unstable, the recent news of Dubai's state-owned investment arm-Dubai World and its reconstruction of debt has come to every ones attention. It shocked many how a city so far away could have such as substantial impact on the United States real estate. Dubai faces $59 billion dollars that it has no way of paying back.

Since the news was realized on Friday The Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index decreased by 2.9%. That is nearly twice the decline of broader U.S. market indexes. "Dubai may have to unload some very prestigious properties at distressed prices and this will drive the price of all commercial real estate lower," wrote Richard Bove, a banking analyst at Rochdale Securities in Lutz, Florida. Dubai World is an investment company that manages projects and business for the Dubai government. Dubai World is involved with many large real estate projects in the United States including CityCenter in Las Vegas and other Miami and New York resorts and hotels. "This downturn has had more of a global impact," said Tony Ciochetti, chairman of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Real Estate in Cambridge, Massachusetts."As I try to explain to my students, with a global economy, we're all attached at the hip financially in some way, shape or form," he added.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Real estate: October home sales up in Hampton Roads

Sales of Peninsula-area existing homes were up 24.2 percent in October, compared to October 2008.

At first blush, it sounds like a drastic improvement. But, real estate agent Bob Sullivan cautioned, October 2008 was a terrible month.

"October of last year is when it really started to go into the toilet," said Sullivan, president of the Virginia Peninsula Association of Realtors.

Nationally, existing-home sales were up 10.1 percent from September, and year-over-year sales were up 20.8 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors.

A rush to cash in on the up to $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit before it expired Nov. 30 bolstered sales. Since then, legislators have extended and expanded it.

Now, a credit of up to $6,500 is available to qualifying existing homeowners. Both first-time and existing buyers have until April 30 to find a home.

That will keep the housing recovery momentum going, Sullivan said.

Extending the credit to existing homeowners will give them the incentive they need to find another home, Sullivan said.

"They might be able to recoup some of the money they would've lost because of the pricing coming down," he said.

October was the third consecutive month to show year-over-year gains in the number of sales on the Peninsula and Middle Peninsula, and November sales hold promise. Year-over-year pending sales are up 43.6 percent, according to a Real Estate Information Network report.

Click here to read more.
Posted by: Kelsey Hoffman

Dubai Effects US Real Estate

Posted By, Meredith Anderson

By Elinor Comlay and Jonathan Stempel - Analysis
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dubai's debt woes could further unhinge an already fragile U.S. commercial real estate, as it illustrates the importance of that tiny country to global investors in an increasingly interconnected world.

A state-owned investment conglomerate Dubai World, with $59 billion of liabilities, set off a global stock market selloff this week after it said it wants to restructure its debt, including at its property subsidiary Nakheel.

"This downturn has had more of a global impact," said Tony Ciochetti, chairman of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Real Estate in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Click Here to Read More

Monday, November 23, 2009

Good News for the Housing Market

By: Sara Sindelar

Finally there is some good news with the economy. Though unemployment may still be extremely low the stock market is making a great increase and real estate sales are starting to move in a positive direction. The National Association of Realtors estimated that sales are up 10.1% in October. This is the highest it has been since February 2007.

With the tax credits in place people are buying more houses. The government has extended the credit till April. The tax credit is a great option for first time home buyers to get a great deal if they can afford to buy a home in this time. This tax credit will hopefully continue to raise housing sales. As more positives occur in the economy will spiral into more positives for the United States economy.

Though we saw a big increase experts feel that there will be a decline before we see another big increase in the next year. We just need to hope that the next year brings good economic times.

Better digs, less money

Posted By: Sara Sindelar

After 19 years in business, Jane Hancock and her husband decided that relocating the Maritime Pacific Brewing Company, a microbrewery and restaurant in Seattle's Ballard District, was a gamble they were ready to make.

"It used to be sort of a sleepy sort of town -- we are right by the water here," says Hancock, whose business moved a few blocks away. "All of a sudden it became chi-chi."

When the recession hit, the Hancocks had to stay optimistic that they would still be able to fill seats in a bigger space. The relocation was pricey: They invested in reconstructing the restaurant, equipping a larger brewery, and shutting down for weeks.

"We had to take it on faith that we will continue to have a popular product, and that this downtime isn't going to hurt us," Hancock says about the decision.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Commercial Real Estate Up But Still A Rocky Future

By, Meredith Anderson

For the first time since 2007 the commercial real estate activity seemed positive. However this rise although slightly encouraging does not acknowledge the fact that the real estate market had a drastic fall just one year earlier.

The NAR, National Association of Realtors, showed that the brokerage activity rose from .09% to 102.4. However the index is still falling short of what it once was on a couple years ago.

Although there was somewhat encouraging news form the real estate market, credit availability remains a huge problem for the industry. The vacancy of both commercial and residential properties is predicted to reach record highs this year. "Credit availability needs to significantly rebound for any hope of a meaningful commercial recovery in 2010," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said. Its a great time to buy, but only if you have the money at hand.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Realtors see sunnier 2010

Posted By: Nicole Nelson

Scott Van Voorhis

OK, here’s one that is sure to get all the housing bears out there feeling downright surly again.

Lawrence Yun, the association’s chief economist, made the sure- to- be-controversial predictions to the faithful assembled at NAR’s annual convention in San Diego last week.

He also noted foreclosures will top out in the first half of next year and the “fear factor’’ of falling prices that has put such a damper on the market will fade.

I guess you have to hand it to Yun, if nothing else, he’s not afraid to stick his head out there.

Still, given some of notoriety the real estate trade group earned for some of its predictions during the bubble years, this is risky territory.

Bidding Wars Resume

A TWO-BEDROOM apartment on the Upper West Side is listed at $1.595 million and sells within two weeks after nine prospective buyers race to outbid one another, ultimately pushing the price to nearly $1.8 million.

Sound like the pandemonium of the last real estate boom, when anyone with a pulse could get a mortgage and it seemed as if prices could go only up?

It wasn’t. Try last month.

A year after the economy headed into a tailspin and at a time when most New Yorkers are still wondering whether real estate prices have hit bottom, brokers say that bidding wars are back. They are breaking out in all sectors of the market, from $400,000 one-bedrooms in Brooklyn Heights to $7 million apartments with grand park views at 15 Central Park West, and from stately Park Avenue prewar apartments to new condominiums in Williamsburg.

In many cases, the jousting buyers start and end below the asking price. But in others, multiple bidders are pushing prices well above list price. To add a confounding twist, many of the bids are being made by buyers willing and able to pay all cash.

Click to read more.

Posted by: Kelsey Hoffman

Sunday, November 15, 2009


By Shawn Chandok

“The first night after she surrendered her house to foreclosure, Sheri West endured the darkness in her Hyundai sedan. She parked in her old driveway, with her flower-print dresses and hats piled in boxes on the back seat, and three cherished houseplants on the floor. She used her backyard as a restroom. The second night, she stayed with a friend, and so it continued for more than a year: Ms. West — mother of three grown children, grandmother to six and great-grandmother to one — passed months on the couches of friends and relatives, and in the front seat of her car.” This woman, Sheri West used to live in Cleveland, Ohio and is now at a homeless shelter. Even though the Fed claims the recession is over, in my opinion I don’t even they believe it. Our current unemployment rate is hitting 10% and there are no rapid actions being taken to reduce this. Within the last year, 10% of overall US homes have been foreclosed according to “Foreclosure to Homeless 2009” surveys. I believe the Fed is implementing a placebo effect, which assumes the country will improve if it is optimistic. However, optimism alone will not get us out of this pickle. Real estate foreclosures were due to inadequate mortgages given to customers who could never afford them. Today, one of the worst states hit by foreclosures is California. As we have all seen on television by now, there have cases of thousands of Californians simply leaving their front door keys in the mailbox and not looking back. California’s foreclosure rate was 43% in July 2008 , and it is expected to continue hovering around this rate. If the Fed doesn’t take quick action, we will have an exponential increase in homeless shelters and a lot more victims like Sheri West.


Commercial Real Estate Outlook Darkens

Posted by: Scott Graulich

Even as the residential real estate market begins to stabilize, albeit at prices far below peal levels and with crucial help from a homebuyers tax credit, economists and bankers are bracing for the fall-out from a dramatic bust in the commercial real estate sector. In the Mountain West, the pain is being felt in the resort market and in some over-built urban areas, such as Idaho’s Treasure Valley, though Denver and many of the fast-growing small cities in the region may avoid the worst.

Click here to read more

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hope for the New Home Buyers Tax Credit

By: Sara Sindelar

The National Association of Realtor’s predicts that home sales are going to increase by 15% due to the new tax credit for home buyers. This tax credit allows first time home buyers a credit up to $8,000 and those who own already up to $6,500 when they buy a new house. Though there are qualifications like income level and time limit to qualify for this credit. First time buyers are the prime market since they are making a large percentage of purchases. They are taking advantage of all the savings they can make between low prices, low mortgage rates and now a tax credit. Realtors are over excited about the increase that is predicted now that the credit is taking place. Sources believe that people have been waiting to buy until the house prices are at the lowest. This tax credit will get those looking to buy to buy and boost sales.

Even with these hard economic times people need to take advantage of it if you can. Buying a home for the first time is a perfect example. Increasing home sales will help stimulate the economy, unemployment may still remain an issue but we need to start somewhere. This is a time to take advantage if you financially can do so. There are so many opportunities to save and this tax credit is a prime example.,0,838088.column

City Finalizes Largest County Real Estate Transaction

Posted By, Meredith Anderson

By Angie Favot
ALLEN PARK –– The city has finalized what closing attorneys say is the largest real estate transaction in Wayne County this year.On Thursday afternoon, the city took control of a 104-acre property off Southfield Road just south of I-94 that is home to Unity Studios and the Lifton Institute for Media Skills.“It’s kind of like an elephant off your back,” Mayor Gary Burtka said. “This is 16 months of work that finally comes to fruition.”To pay for the property, the city sold $25.3 million in long-term general obligation bonds and $3 million in Wayne County-issued recovery zone bonds on Oct. 27. The bonds received an “A” credit rating and sold in less than one minute.PNC Financial Services Group Inc. purchased the bonds. PNC is a financial services organization that covers retail, business and corporate markets. The PNC Equipment Finance unit was merged with National City Commercial Capital Co. this month.

Cracks in the Foundation of the Fed's Housing Fix

Posted By: Sara Sindelar

We all know the government can't run anything.

It's not good at running the nation's retirement plan. Its passenger rail system seems to be perennially in trouble. If the post office were doing such a bang up job, how then would one explain the rise of FedEx and United Parcel Service?

And when it comes to creating efficient health care, let's just say "hoping for a miracle" is not a tried-and-true business plan.

Until recently, the same was true when it came to the housing and mortgage markets. Missteps by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Congress and the Federal Reserve helped create the mortgage bubble.

But during the last 18 months, a funny thing happened. The government accomplished what it set out to do. Uncle Sam's extraordinary efforts to prop up the financial markets, the mortgage market in particular, pretty much have worked. Housing prices in most places have stabilized. Home loans are being made to qualified borrowers, not at the bubble-era pace, but at a healthy rate that has deals getting done.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Are Houses Really Finally Cheap?

By Lingxiao Li

A handful of early signs suggest America’s housing market is on the mend. Construction starts and new house sales were up nicely in June. Prices rose from April to May, the first monthly increase in nearly three years.

Time to buy, then? Perhaps, but be cautious about how and where you shop.

Some experts are no evangelist for the financial merits of homeownership. Two years ago they argued here that house prices in the U.S. had grown so bloated that renting had become a better deal than owning. An expert said:" Since then, prices have plunged 30%, or about 36% after inflation. Nationally, they still seem too high, as I’ll show in a moment, and May’s gain could prove illusory -- SmartMoney’s Aleksandra Todorova points out that it disappears after adjusting for seasonality, and that the numbers probably got a temporary boost from government freezes on foreclosure proceedings.

Still, a handful of major markets now look affordable, and all of them are closer to sane.

Obama extends, expands homebuyer tax credit

By Lisa Scherzer
Post by Lingxiao Li

On the fence about buying a new home? Some government aid is on the way to help spur sales.

Nov. 6 President Barack Obama signed a bill that extends the $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit and expands it to include some existing homeowners.

Under the expanded program, homeowners are eligible for a tax credit of up to $6,500 if they purchase a new home. To qualify, current owners will need to have lived in their prior residence for five consecutive years out of the past eight years. The credit would apply to home purchases under contract by April 30, 2010, as long as they close by June 30.

First-time buyers (and those who haven’t owned a home in the last three years) continue to be eligible for up to $8,000. Read more..

Investors Finding Deals in Real Estate Market

Posted by: Christina Dove

Although the housing market has taken some criticism and has struggled recently in the ongoing economic crisis, there is a glimmer of hope for some real estate investors. Many investors who have the money are able to take advantage of the slow economy's low prices and are getting great deals on houses. Especially with so many people foreclosing their homes and turning them over to the bank, it creates a lot of opportunities for people looking to buy a home or just a place to invest their money.

Housing prices are at an all time low and are attracting several types of people - those looking to buy their first home, those looking to relocate and those looking to invest their money and have a payoff in the future when the market returns to its normal conditions. Another benefit of entering the real estate market at this time is for the wide selection of homes that are on the market, with so many people getting out of their homes because they cannot afford them, it really opens up the doors for people with a little extra cash to get some great discounts on homes.

One issue in the housing market is that investors believe that the banks are being too leinent on people who cannot afford their homes. The banks are continuing to give out questionable loans to avoid foreclosures, but this is not helping the economy or the people who are living in these homes, strapped for cash. In order for our economy to get back on its feet, we will have to take stronger actions on people living in homes that they cannot afford and open them up to investors who have the fund to live in that caliber of homes. Therefore, in order for the real estate market to prosper and investors to get the most of their money and take advantage of the low housing prices, banks must be more aggressive in getting people to pay for their mortgages.


In commercial real estate market, buyers and sellers play the waiting game

Posted by: Andrew Pia
Written by: Sheryl Nash

What's most striking about the commercial real estate market is how quiet it is.

"It's like a storm is brewing and it has everyone standing on the sidelines," says Bob Spratt, president of commercial real estate firm Hill Partners Inc.

And that near silence is expected to continue until 2010, when the market will likely reach its bottom, with values declining 40% to 50% off 2007 market peaks, according to the Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2010 Report recently released by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the Urban Land Institute.

"Commercial real estate is lagging all asset sectors and it will come back slowly, it will be a long slog," says Jonathan Miller, author of the report and a consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

What will be the tell-tale signs that at last the market has scraped the bottom? "When we start to see more and more institutional investors dipping more than just a toe in the water, which indicates the desire to start placing significant real estate bets," says Gregg Genovese, president of the Securities Division at Thompson National Properties.

Click here to read more about this article

Real Estate Career

By Ka Lee Angel Lee

Real estate jobs are getting more popular and competitive. Everybody needs a place to live, to work, and if one is smart, investments in real estate can earn you a fortune.

Real estate jobs endow freedom, time flexibility, challenges and juicy rewards. If you are really interested, you can start by enrolling in some real estate courses in schools. There are licensing requirements for entry of the real estate job market. Therefore, some pre-licensing educational courses can definitely help you to get through more easily. Then you will start from the real life training and get your way into bigger firms.

There is a wide range of real estate jobs to choose from, from residential brokerage to commercial ones, from industrial and office brokerage to real estate appraising. It is important to find out which direction you want to aim at and your effort will be paid off.


$8,000 homebuyers tax credit extended

Posted By- Anshu Dixit
By Les Christie, staff writer

NEW YORK ( -- President Obama signed an extension and expansion of the first-time homebuyers tax credit on Friday.

The $8,000 credit was scheduled to lapse on Dec. 1 but will now be in effect through the end of June. Homebuyers must sign a contract before April 30 and close by June 30. The income limits were also raised: Single buyers can now earn up to $125,000 and still get the full credit while a married couple can earn $225,000.

The bill also made more homeowners eligible to claim the credit on their taxes. First-time buyers -- those who have not owned a home in the past three years -- still qualify for an $8,000 rebate. But now people who want to trade up can also qualify. Those who have owned and occupied a residence for at least five years out of the past eight can claim a $6,500 tax credit if they close on a purchase by the end of June.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mortgage Changes

Posted By Pete Hill

IN recent years, state and local governments have enacted laws to combat discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered people seeking mortgages and housing. Now the federal government is poised to do the same with regulations that would cover loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration.

The new initiative was welcomed by legal advocates, who say that so far, laws have largely failed to address the issue adequately. Some in the mortgage industry, meanwhile, contend that such discrimination is rare.

However, overall mortgages are getting better. Fewer people are underwater on their mortgages, further evidence that the real estate free-fall may be slowing. That is good news because it should help reduce the number of homeowners losing their homes to foreclosure. Being underwater is one of the two factors that lead to foreclosure, the other being, of course, not having enough income to make the monthly payments

In addition to fewer underwater mortgages, prices of homes have been on the rise for the second straight quarter. Although they are still down drastically from a year ago, they are back on the rise. a shrinking supply of unsold homes suggests the housing market is getting closer to price stabilization. But a steady stream of financially qualified buyers is necessary to keep the fledgling housing recovery going.


Businesses are downsizing their Real Estate

Posted by: Scarlett Lu

Businesses are moving into smaller office because their staff is shrinking and more workers telecommute. When a company decides to downsize the reasons are obvious, it may be that they have no other choice; it’s either they downsize or go out of business. They may go as far as eliminating employees. Another trend that arise is closing down properties and letting employees work from home. Owners are saving money on office equipment such as furniture and other expenses. By letting employees work from home, or by using independent contractors who don’t work on-site. Owners do not have to provide space at the office for them. Space equals money. The CEO of Edge Electronics; has turned seven salespeople in Texas into telecommuters. Telecommuting has enabled some businesses to close down their offices and expand their headquarter space. Workers are working from homes and they save time and money without commuting. Employees have the opportunity to work offsite. They can still accomplish work at home.
It is extraordinarily expensive to run a small business especially in the New York area. Since every employee has a computer, phone, internet connection it is convenient to work from home. The internet has made it easy for people to keep in touch with one another.

How To Improve The Value Of A Home

Posted by Lindsey Connell

There are many ways for someone to increase the value of their home and a few of them are defined in Remodeling Magazine. The first way is to have the siding replaced on the house. Fiber cement and foam-backed vinyl are the two most valuable siding materials and they can net 87% ROI. A second way to increase home value is to have window replacements of wood or vinyl because it can save on heating and cooling bills. Another way is to remodel the bathroom but it is important to note that those who added bathrooms lost value while those who remodeled their bathrooms raised the value. Also, you could do a major kitchen remodel because the kitchen is very frequently used and the bigger, the better. Another way is to add a deck to the house because with the poor economy, people tend to stay home more in order to spend less money so a deck is attractive to customers. Besides this, homeowners should create an attic bedroom because guest beds usually appear valuable to customers. A final addition is to remodel the basement because it can create a 73% ROI. Because large renovations, there are many simple steps to enhance the appearance of a home that will help sell it. These steps include repainting the exterior and interior, mowing the lawn/ cutting weeds, and add new curtains and light bulbs to brighten the rooms.

Real Estate Outlook: Pending Sales Rise

Posted by Lindsey Connell

A record jump in pending home sales -- pointing to higher numbers of closed transactions in the next two to three months -- tops the housing economic news this week.

Pending sales rose by 6.1 percent nationwide during the month of September, pushed in part by consumer concerns that the $8,000 tax credit might expire at the end of the month - and we now know that won't happen.

The pending home sale index, compiled monthly by the National Association of Realtors, was up 21 percent higher this September compared with September of 2008. That's the biggest year-over-year increase in the history of the index, dating back to 2001.

Click here to read more

How Do You Really Know What Your Home is Worth?

Post by David Held

The first step in the process of selling your home is getting an appraisal, an estimate of what your house is worth. This is the key step in determining what to list your home for. The appraised value of your home most likely will not be the same as the “market value” for your home. Depending on the economy the appraised value might be more than the market value or some times less (not in your favor).

Ten Appraisal Tips are:

1. Continuously research the value of your home and homes in your neighborhood; pay attention to foreclosures in your area; they will drive down the value of your home.
2. Since appraisers use "comps" (comparable market sales) of local properties sold within the last six months to value your home, make sure to work with a great loan officer who will leverage their knowledge to research comps in your area, before ordering the appraisal.
3. If you use your own appraiser, research them first and ask your lender to cross check them for any potential issues that may delay the process. Great loan officers will always confirm your appraiser's credentials.
4. Direct your loan officer to work with local, experienced appraisal companies. Local appraisers have a deeper knowledge of the surrounding neighborhood and will likely be more readily available for the home inspection, to speed your appraisal process.
5. The appraisal report is yours to keep. Find out in advance who pays for the appraisal--many times appraisal fees are the homeowner's responsibility and have to be paid up front.
6. New lending regulations require two appraisals in some situations--ask at the beginning whether you'll need one or two.
7. Commit to your lender before committing to an appraisal. Being comfortable working with your loan officer is imperative. They often will be the liaison between you and the appraisal company.
8. Make sure any major repairs are completed before moving forward with your refinance. Structural damages drive your home value down and jeopardize the approval process for today's popular government-backed FHA loans.
9. Don't overestimate the value of making cosmetic home improvements. The expense is rarely justified because in the appraisal world, only improvements that add square footage will significantly increase home value.
10. Rely on market value rather than tax assessments for a realistic appraisal value--in today's market, tax value and current market value may differ widely, but your lender can only go by appraisal value.

Sources #1, #2, #3

A Cheap Nest for Fledgling Firms

Post by David Held

When Lindsay Napor expanded her Manhattan-based development company earlier this year — moving out of free work space provided by an investor — she turned to the most logical place for the company’s new offices: New Jersey.

“We were planning on moving out of New York,” Ms. Napor said, “because to go from nothing to standard New York rents would have been a nonstarter for us.”

The company, called Ecological, which specializes in sustainable construction, had four employees, but planned to add 35 to 40 people in two years. “We were actually looking at space in Newark, because it was easy to get to for most people, and much cheaper,” she said.

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Only 1 in 20 Americans plan to buy first home in 2010

By: Zachary Pienkowski

In an attempt to jump start the residential housing market, the government created a program in order to encourage first time home buyers by giving them up to an $8,000 tax credit. Success of this program was undeniable, so in fear that when the program ended in November that home sales would sharply drop, the government decided to extend the program at least into 2010. However, recent reports show that despite the extended tax credit, only 1 in 20 Americans below the ages of 34 plan to buy a new home. Most home buyers that plan to buy now said that the main reason they want to purchase a home now is because the prices are so low they can not imagine them falling any further, and did not want to wait and have to pay higher prices. Many people have been hesitant to jump into the market and purchase a home because they are trying to keep their savings in case of emergencies instead of putting down everything they have in a down payment. Many home owners who have recently refinanced their mortgage due to attractive rates have used the money to pay bills and cover expenses instead of using the savings for retirement. Investments and retirement savings have taken a backseat in many families to keeping up with bills and paying down debt due to a large increase in layoffs and pay cuts.


Affordable Prices Draw Investors to Real Estate

Posted by: Christina Dove

Affordable prices and foreclosures are attracting investors to the housing markets today, and the number of consumers interested in investing in real estate has doubled since March 2009, according to the new Homeownership Survey released today. Low prices and foreclosure bargains have also become the most important reasons motivating buyers today to purchase a home.

According to the survey, one out of eight (12.1%) homebuyers today plan to purchase a home as an investment property, compared to 5.6 percent seven months ago(1). Of those interested in buying a home for investment, 15.8 percent were men and 8.1 percent were women.

Foreclosure buyers, accounting for 25.3 percent of consumers interested in purchasing a home, are a major source of potential investment activity for today’s housing market. Forty-two percent (42%) of potential foreclosure buyers regard their purchases as investments, while 57.6 percent plan to live in the foreclosed home themselves. Foreclosure investors, according to the survey, intend to convert their foreclosures into rentals (13.2%), fix them up for re-sale (11.3%), or house a family member until the home can be sold at a profit (17.4%). Of the forty-two percent interested in purchasing a foreclosure as an investment, survey respondents ages 35 to 49 (52.6%) were by far the largest demographic.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Decline and Fall of the Bachelor Pad

Posted By Pete Hill

BACHELORS always seemed to have it made. With only themselves to support, they could flash their cash and trick out their apartments in such a way that James Bond himself would feel at home shaking himself a martini in their ultra-cool, chick-magnet pads.

Then the recession thundered in, and suddenly young men found themselves one of the hardest hit demographic segments.
In 2008, the unemployment rate for men ages 20 to 34 in New York State was 7.4 percent. The countrywide average was 7.7 percent, while the state average for women in the same age range was 6.1 percent, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Numbers for 2009 are not yet available.)
Bachelors have been walloped, but many are taking their lumps and moving on.

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Housing plan reaches 1 in 5 borrowers

By : Zachary Pienkowski

WASHINGTON – After a slow start, the Obama administration's mortgage relief program has reached one in five eligible homeowners, a government report says.

As of the end of October, more than 650,000 borrowers, or 20 percent of those eligible, have signed up for trials lasting up to five months, the Treasury Department said Tuesday. The modifications reduce monthly payments to more affordable levels.

Launched with great fanfare in March, the plan got off to a weak start, but now nearly 920,000 loan modification offers have been sent to more than 3.2 million eligible homeowners. That works out to 29 percent, up from 15 percent at the end of July.

In California, about 130,000 homeowners have been enrolled in the "Making Home Affordable" loan modification plan, which President Barack Obama unveiled in February. That works out to about 19 percent of the state's homeowners who were either two payments behind or in foreclosure at the end of last month, according to Treasury Department data.

"We are reaching all the places that really got decimated," said Michael Barr, an assistant Treasury secretary. "The other basic story is we're reaching borrowers at a scale that has not been done by any other modification program."

Two other hard-hit states, Arizona and Nevada had similar rates of assistance as California, at 22 percent and 18 percent respectively. Florida, however, was much lower, at 12 percent, possibly because of high numbers of investor-owned properties that don't qualify for the program.

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Fed’s Lockhart Says Commercial Real Estate May Weaken Recovery

Posted by: Andrew Pia

Written by: Steve Matthews

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said the economy will probably recover slowly from the deepest recession since the 1930s because of rising bank losses, especially in commercial real estate.

“Now that growth has resumed, the overall objective of economic policy should be to bring about a durable recovery and an environment that reduces unemployment as quickly as possible while containing inflationary pressures,” Lockhart said today in a speech in Atlanta. “The process of achieving this objective will necessarily involve judicious removal of government supports and the normalization of monetary policy.”

Policy makers have expressed concern that rising commercial real estate loan defaults could pose a risk to U.S. banks and hinder a recovery. All 12 Fed district banks reported a weak or declining commercial real estate market, the central bank said Oct. 21 in its Beige Book business survey.

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Fed’s Lockhart Says Commercial Real Estate May Weaken Recovery

Posted by Ka Lee Angel Lee

By Steve Matthews

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said the economy will probably recover slowly from the deepest recession since the 1930s because of rising bank losses, especially in commercial real estate.

“Now that growth has resumed, the overall objective of economic policy should be to bring about a durable recovery and an environment that reduces unemployment as quickly as possible while containing inflationary pressures,” Lockhart said today in a speech in Atlanta. “The process of achieving this objective will necessarily involve judicious removal of government supports and the normalization of monetary policy.”

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Best Places to Live 2009

Article by Luke Millins

Post by Shawn Chandok

With the decade winding to a close, Americans have grown increasingly reluctant to gas up their moving vans. Last year, the Census Bureau's national mover rate—which represents the percentage of Americans 1 year and older who moved within the past year—hit its lowest level since 1948, when the bureau began tracking the data. And who can blame us? In the face of a terrifying banking crisis, a historic housing crash, and a grueling recession, relocating to a new city isn't exactly on the to-do list. But despite the uncertain economy, the nation's diverse topography presents an enviable menu of great places to find work, retire, or just change your scene.

In selecting our Best Places to Live for 2009, U.S. News took a thrift-conscious approach: We looked for affordable communities that have strong economies and plenty of fun things to do. The cities we selected are as distinct as America itself—ranging from a quaint suburb to a live-music mecca. But whether you prefer hiking through the Rocky Mountains, pulling a fish out of the Atlantic Ocean, or grilling hot dogs at a college football tailgate, here are 10 places that will fill up your daybook without emptying your wallet.

1. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Along the banks of the Rio Grande, with the Sandia Mountains in the background, is the beautiful city of Albuquerque, N.M. The sunny climate and endless landscape have long drawn writers, poets, and artists to this spot, which includes an unconventional mix of American Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo cultures. But it's not just freethinkers who drift to this Southwestern city of 511,000. Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Laboratories, and Intel Corp. have helped develop the area into a manufacturing and research hub. They provide a stable anchor for the local economy.

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Xinyuan Real Estate Co., Ltd. Announces Third Quarter 2009 Financial Results

Posted by Scarlett Lu

BEIJING, Nov. 9 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Xinyuan Real Estate Co., Ltd. ("Xinyuan" or "the Company") (NYSE: XIN), a residential real estate developer with a focus on high growth, strategic Tier II cities in China, today announced its unaudited financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2009.

Highlights for the Third Quarter 2009
-- Total revenues were US$128.2 million, compared to US$91.8 million in
the second quarter of 2009 and US$83.0 million for the same period of
-- Contract sales totaled US$159.0 million in the third quarter of 2009
versus US$100.5 million in the second quarter of 2009 and $69.7 million
for the third quarter of 2008.
-- Total gross floor area ("GFA") sales were 184,500 square meters,
compared to 128,500 square meters in the second quarter of 2009 and
93,900 square meters for the same period of 2008.
-- Selling, General, and Administrative ("SG&A") expenses as a percent of
total revenue declined to 7.0% compared to 8.1% in the second quarter
of 2009 and 16.3% for the third quarter of 2008.
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Do you Want to Save you House ...Just try...

By- Anshu Dixit

Foreclosure is a term many people may have heard of yet are unsure as to what the term means exactly. A foreclosure is something which affects homeowners who have a mortgage or lien on their home and do not own the house outright. There are a few things which homeowners should be aware of with regard to foreclosure in order to prevent this from happening to them. First, what is Foreclosure? Foreclosure is when a lender who currently holds a mortgage on one's home can come in and repossess the home due to a number of reasons but mainly for nonpayment of a mortgage. For those individuals whose home is less valuable than their current loan balance, they may also owe a deficiency judgment as a result thereof. In short you would not be the homeowner, your lender will.

A homeowner who is having problem with his/her mortgage payment should get the help, such as “Talk to a foreclosure avoidance counselor”, “Talk to your lender”, “Find state and local foreclosure resources”, “Contact HOPE NOW”. These contacts can help you a lot from foreclosure. If you will be careful as a home owner from the beginning, you would be able to deal with this foreclosure problem. There are some things that you, as a homeowner should do. Just do not ignore the problem. Do not ignore the letter from your lender, if you think you are having problem making your payments, call or write to your lender. Explain your situation; provide them your financial information. Stay In your home for now, because by leaving your home now you may not qualify for the assistance if you abandon your property.

If you end up in the situation of foreclosure there are some alternatives for you. Such as, Special Forbearance, which means your lender many be able to arrange a repayment plan based on your financial situation. Mortgage Modification, in which you may be able to refinance the debt and or extend the term of your mortgage loan. And there are many other alternatives to avoid foreclosure such as, Partial claim, pre-foreclosure sale, Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. There are some situations where you can or cannot qualify for these alternatives. And to know you should contact your lender. People have to be more careful because losing your shelter is not good in short term and in long term as well in terms of credit.

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Home sales contracts rise for 8th straight month

By Anshu Dixit
By Les Christie, staff writer

NEW YORK ( -- The number of signed sales contracts to buy homes rose in September for the eighth straight month, according to a real estate industry report released Monday.

The September Pending Home Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) spiked 6.1% to 110.1, consolidating a 6.4% gain in August. It was the index's highest level since December 2006, when it stood at 112.8.

The leap was far better than expected. A panel of analysts surveyed by had forecast a 1.2% rise.

Analysts, including Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, have traced much of the improvement to the government's first-time homebuyer tax credit program, which gives an up to $8,000 tax break to new homebuyers.

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2010: Worst Time to Buy a House

Posted by: Christina Dove

According to a study done by PriceWaterHouseCoopers, U.S. commercial property prices are likely to hit bottom next year after falling more than 40 percent from their 2007 peaks. This does not have a very good outlook for 2010 home buyers, who are going to find it very difficult to get a loan or any type of credit from banks. In addition, this is going to put a huge strain on those who are struggling to maintain ownership of their home and are falling behind on payments.

The housing boom of 2006-2007 is to blame for this housing market catastrophe. Too many people were getting loans that they were not able to afford and living in houses that were way above their means. Just because the bank allowed them to get a loan for that much, does not mean it was the most financially wise thing to do. Now these people are paying the price as the value of their homes is decreasing as we speak. People should have known that is was not wise to be paying for a mortgage that was worth well above what their house was worth.

The only good thing about this housing crisis is that those with the cash are able to buy some great properties at an all-time low price. Some investors are taking advantage of those who have had to foreclose their homes and those homes that have been repossessed by the bank and resold. However, this is not the case for many people who are strapped for extra cash in this economic crisis and are finding it hard to even afford the property that they are already living in. The housing market will always be going through ups and downs, but it seems that 2010 will still be a down year for the housing market and people are going to have a lot of trouble selling their homes for what they paid for them.


Foreclosures: Worst-hit cities

By Julianne Pepitone

Posted By Ahmed Al-Salem

NEW YORK ( -- While foreclosure rates are easing in some of the hardest-hit cities, the crisis is beginning to expand into new metro areas.

On Wednesday, RealtyTrac released its list of cities with the biggest foreclosure problems during the third quarter. As expected, towns in California, Florida and Nevada dominated the top 10, with Las Vegas taking the top spot with a rate of 1 in 20 homes. That's a 53% increase over the third quarter 2008.

But there was a bright spot: Half of the cities in the top 10 showed year-over-year declines in their foreclosure rates, and 60% showed improvement compared with the second quarter.

For example, second place Merced, Calif., saw foreclosures fall by 11% from last year and 13% from last quarter, to 1 out of every 27 homes. And Stockton, Calif., slipped to No. 4 from No. 2 last quarter. The city, which is 80 miles east of San Francisco, had ranked highest for all of 2008.

"We're not sure if that will be a one-time thing or a true continued trend, but it's one of the first positive signs we've seen," said Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at RealtyTrac.

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Private Property

By: Scott Graulich

Owning private property (real estate) by the individual is the key to freedom and liberty in America. It is a foundation of capitalism and a driving force to achieving the American dream. I think it is one of the key reasons for the failure of the Soviet Union where communism and Marxist theories destroyed the economy. Marxism believes that private property is the means by which the upper class oppress the middle and lower class workers. Marx believed that if private property ownership were abolished, oppression of the people would cease to exist by the wealthy.

Well this foolish theory did not pan out too well. It is private property rights that are quite literally the foundations of America's business successes and entrepreneurship. There is a sense of human excitement and satisfaction that accompanies the acquisition and management of real estate properties. If that ability ceased to exist, I believe America would fail.

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Real Estate Facts

by Ka Lee Angel Lee

Real estate experience is essential for everyone because it is one of the most promising investments. It is important for us to get hold of investing and property management background. In the past 10 years, real estate financings have been increasingly available to the public through Real Estate Investment Trusts. The trusts are similar to mutual funds and hold property. Not only they are good opportunities to get involved in real estate investments, they also create a job market for estate analysts. To be successful in real estate investments, we need to sharpen our negotiating skills in order to achieve a win-win contract deal. Other than that, technology boom is happening in real estate too. We should use this advantage to get more information about the market and save a lot of searching and information costs.




Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Availablity and cost of bank credit to impact real estate

Posted by Christina Dove

While the recent quarterly review of the monetary policy has kept the policy rates unchanged, the availability and also cost of bank credit are
likely to impact one sector;commercial real estate (CRE). As equities and real estate are vulnerable to asset bubbles, bank lending to these segments is under close regulatory scrutiny.

This explains the RBI move to increase provisioning requirements for CRE lending to 1% as against 0.4% for other categories. RBI attributes this measure to "large increase in credit to commercial real estate over the last one year and the extent of restructured advances in this sector".

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